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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Spirit whatimals?

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“You know, I think that you’re like a cross between a Koala and an Elephant. A Koalaphant.” This is what my sister told me. “You know, I kind of get an otter vibe” said one of my friends from back home. “You’re such a baby zebra!” says my roommate. Buzzfeed determined that I was a wolf.

Maybe you’ve had other people tell you what your “spirit animal” is too. But what does that even mean? And why does everyone (or everything) come up with a different animal for the same person? A spirit animal supposedly reflects your characteristics through an animal. For example, if you’re a night person, you may be compared to an owl. Being a huge fan of animals myself, I immediately liked the idea. But after being assigned several different animals, I got to thinking about the logic of these assignments.

On one hand, I can see how some of the animals relate. A Zebra foal and the imaginary Koalaphant seem to be pretty serene and gentle. But on the other hand, a carnivorous wolf stands out a bit from the others. According to the Buzzfeed quiz, I got a wolf because of my strong sense of community and family. It also mentioned that you’re probably prone to severe homesickness. I find both of these things remarkably true. But you could also say that a wolf can be hostile. So which side of the coin is true? Maybe neither, maybe both.

I got to thinking about whether I would have answered the quiz questions differently if I weren’t alone. I think I would have. It’s in our nature to present ourselves to different people in different ways. We interact with our teachers (or most of us do) differently than our best friends. We don’t have the same kind of relationships that we do with our friends from home and our friends at college. So following that line of logic, it only makes sense that different people choose different animals for the same person. Is this wrong – to show different sides of ourselves to different people? Or are we taking a lesson from animals themselves and putting on a unique form of camouflage?

Another thing that came to my attention about spirit animals was how hurt some people are by their assignments, or rather, if they go without one. I saw one girl have her friends compare her to a chipmunk. They did it out of love, I’m sure, but I could tell that she was offend- ed. Perhaps we take spirit animal assignments too seriously – maybe we think then that we must look like those animals or have the annoying tendencies that some of them may have. The group then went back and forth about assignments for another girl but the results came back inconclusive. What about a snow leopard? A polar bear? A giraffe? But nothing seemed to fit the bill. I could tell that she was hurt too, maybe feeling like her friends didn’t know her well enough. But then again, maybe she was the lucky one. Maybe she’s the one who gets to have a say in what animal she compares herself to.

Overall, I think the idea of spirit animals is intriguing – and most of the time – really fun. But just in case you don’t like your assignment, be like the hyenas in the Lion King and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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